INDIANAPOLIS – Danica Patrick’s racing career ended with a heavy impact in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
Patrick, who became the first woman to lead the Indy 500 in 2005, lost control of her No. 13 Dallara-Chevrolet and slammed the Turn 2 wall on the 68th lap. She was able to walk to a waiting ambulance, which transported her to the track care center for a routine evaluation.
Today was really disappointing for what we were hoping for and what you want for your last race,” Patrick told ABC. “I’m very grateful for all of it. I just wish I could have finished stronger.
“I’m not really for sure what happened. There was a little lift in the middle. A little understeer back to it, and (the car) just swung.”
She will finish 30th in the race, which will be her career worst at the 2.5-mile track. Patrick had six top 10s in eight Indy 500 starts, including a best finish of third in 2009. She led 19 laps in her ’05 debut at the Brickyard, finishing fourth.
Patrick said that was what “really launched” her career.
“I’ve had a lot of good fortune here,” she said. “I still had some good this month. It just didn’t come on race day, but we had some good moments.”
Patrick also was the first woman to lead a lap in NASCAR’s premier series in the 2013 Daytona 500, where she was the first female to capture a Cup Series pole position
Patrick wrecked in the final two races of her career. She finished 35th in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18, her final NASCAR start.
She also crashed and finished 37th in the Nov. 19, 2017 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, her last race as a full-time driver.
Patrick had been enjoying a solid month at Indy after a few anxious moments in her first practice after ending a seven-year layoff from the Indy 500.
She seemed in good spirits on the starting grid before the race, laughing while standing beside her car with a small circle of family and friends that included her parents, her sister and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, her boyfriend.
“Let’s go, Danica!” a fan shouted during prerace ceremonies, bringing a smile from Rodgers and other members of the entourage.